Coming up as a shorty, I used to always listen to Jay-Z talk about the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, New York. Being from the west coast, to me, it was a fairytale like place that I wasn’t honestly too sure existed in real life. Not so much fairytale in the sense of a utopian like location, but fairytale in way that Hansel and Gretle described the witch’s house, or how Little Red Riding Hood described the woods surrounding her
wolf’s Grandmother’s cottage. In short, it seemed too crazy to be real. For Brooklyn native Eli Sostre; my woes were his reality.
Hailing from Marcy himself, Sostre has splashed on to the scene this year as somebody to be familiar with. After collaborating with Amir Obe as part of the NEIGHBORHOOD PHCK$ collective, Sostre released one of the most well put together projects of 2016 in, Still Up All Night. Sostre’s wavy falsettos and well written tales of infidelity, weed smoking and making it happen for the night have made him a fan favorite and has gained him favorable comparisons to industry darlings The Weeknd and Bryson Tiller. But don’t mistake Sostre for a copy cat, he’s far from it. The singer/rapper writes all of his own lyrics, produces many of his tracks and even produces for others, all while creating a sound that while reminiscent of those before him, is all his own. Whether it’s groovy Saxophone solos like on “Ain’t Love Strange“, or the chilling wind chime sample on “Birds Chirping“, Eli Sostre is putting the industry on notice. We had a chance to chop it up with Sostre about everything from buying his first Hip-Hop album and life on the road, to the new music that’s being prepped for takeoff. Check it out below.
RESPECT.: Hey what’s up Eli? How are you?
Eli Sostre: Things are good, I’m in a good creative space. Living & learning everyday.
RESPECT.: How’s life been since the project dropped?
Sostre: Life is good, I’m just keeping busy recording new music/shooting visuals. No change really, just surrounded by the same people I’ve always been surrounded by. I’m working with a lot of the people I’ve been wanting to work with for a while.
RESPECT.: How did growing up in Brooklyn inspire your sound?
Sostre: I think it molded me as a person mostly, the conditions inspired me to stay out of trouble and put my focus on my craft.
RESPECT.: How did you start making music?
Sostre: I think the music I grew up around inspired me. My mom listened to a lot of R&B & Latin ballads while cleaning around the house so subconsciously I think that molded the melodic side of me. I always wanted to make beats, I met my best friend Soriano in high school and we started making beats at the same time. That’s where it all started.
I’m glad I learned how to produce first because I can create around my mood for the day, whatever that may be.
RESPECT.: What’s the first hip hop album you bought on your own?
Sostre: I’m not sure but it had to be Late Registration by Kanye West or In My Mind by Pharrell. Those two albums changed my life.
RESPECT.: What were you doing before music?
Sostre: Playing sports, basketball & baseball mostly during my childhood. Other than that I was always working on developing the sound, that’s all I can remember.
RESPECT.: You talk a lot about broken hearts on Still Up All Night, both yours and there’s. Was that all inspired by one woman or just a collection of stories?
Sostre: It’s inspired by all the things I’ve been through, going through, or put someone through. The tape was inspired by my life itself.
RESPECT.: I see that you handled a lot of the production yourself, how did you get into producing?
Sostre: My brother had brought FL Studio home one day, & I used YouTube videos to learn all the things I wanted to know. I’m glad I learned how to produce first because I can create around my mood for the day, whatever that may be.
RESPECT.: “Ain’t Love Strange” is probably my favorite record on there sonically, especially with the flip at the end. Can you talk more about the making of that record?
Sostre: My producer and I are interested in creating memorable moments. We finalized the record the same night we had a show. The record didn’t feel complete so Soriano switched the bassline on the hook & I performed it that night. Before the album dropped, my team & I all mutually decided to keep the saxophone on the record. I thought it sounded like some Bill Cosby shit at first but it grew on me quick, it’s really soulful. One of the records I’m most proud of thus far.
RESPECT.: I got a chance to see you in L.A. with Amir Obe and Jimi Tents, how was it being on the road with those guys?
Sostre: It was tight, we had a good time. My favorite part about being on the road is connecting with my real fans & making new ones, so it was a dope experience.
RESPECT.: Will you be doing more features in the near future?
Sostre: I look forward to working more producers, building a team of producers and connecting them to create something great. On the music tip, I would like how to work with artist I enjoy listening too and people I have personal relationships with.
RESPECT.: When can fans are expect some new music?
Sostre: Possibly on my birthday, no sure thing we’re just cooking up new records & getting visuals done for Still Up All Night. New content coming very soon regardless, got to give my people what they want.
Check out, Still Up All Night, below and be sure to get familiar with the New York crooner.
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